Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holiday hiatus

Happy holidays!!! I hope y'all have had a wonderful holiday season so far. It is so hard to believe that it is nearly the new year. Crazy! It seems that I have taken another unplanned blog break. What with all of the holiday preparations, celebrations, and stress, posting here just fell completely by the wayside. Besides which, I really haven't been doing all that much crafting in the last couple of weeks. Certainly, not as much as I would have liked to do!

But I do have a couple of things to share...

fabric basket and coasters
I made another basket using the fabulous Pink Penguin fabric basket tutorial. I did a little bit of math and enlarged the basket to finish at about 7" x 5" and 4" high. Just a bit bigger so that I could fill it up with more goodies, including a little set of 8 coasters (pattern from the fabulous Joelle Hoverson book, Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts).

fabric basket filled with goodies
I also included some homemade spiced biscotti, a mug, and lots of chocolate treats.

One of my son's toddler friends celebrated her third birthday a couple of weeks ago, and so I put together this little apron for her.
toddler apron, sparkly side
The pattern is "Abigail's Apron" by LadyBug Bay, Inc. (I can't find a link to it anywhere, but if you're interested, let me know, and I can give you the info on it.) It's a simple, quick pattern, and it's reversible! I used the super-sparkly dragonfly fabric on one side (because sparkles are very important to princess-obsessed toddlers). And then...

toddler apron, purple side
...a happy, starry purple on the other. I love how it came out, and foresee making more of these in my future.

I did shoot to finish a couple of quilts for Christmas gifts, but it just didn't happen. The "My Friend Maisy" quilt for my son will just have to wait until his birthday next month, I think (but no worries... there were so many other gifts for him this Christmas, that one less was no matter). The other quilt (for my father-in-law) is also a work-in-progress at this point. So he received an IOYAQ (I Owe You A Quilt) card (inspired by Leah Day). I used fabric scraps from the quilt and stitched them to the front of a blank card and wrote a little coupon-text inside. I wish I had taken a picture! Hopefully, I'll be able to fulfill my coupon obligation in the next month or two.

And, lastly, just a little bit of cookie decorating fun:

Cookie fun, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A fun giveaway!

Twiddletails is carrying a whole fabric collection in her store for the first time, and she is celebrating by giving some away. Now I don't usually post about giveaways, but I'm so excited to hear that her store (open just over a year now!) is growing and that she is able to carry a whole collection. It's a pretty exciting milestone for a small business, I think.

The collection is beautiful! It is "Wild Thyme" by Carolyn Gavin for P&B Textiles. If you have a minute, you might want to check it out, and maybe even enter yourself in the Twiddletails giveaway. :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Jane Stickle Quilt: J-8

Jane Stickle block J-8Block number/name: J-8 “Anna’s Anchor”

Date completed: December 10, 2009

Number of pieces: 22

Notes on block: This was a fun block to put together. The melons on this one are a little larger than on J-9, and so seemed much easier to deal with. The block is just bright and happy!

The weather here has been below freezing the last few days. Last night my hands were so cold that I almost took a night off of stitching. I just wanted to hide them under my warm quilt. You’d think that all the stitching and having active hands and fingers would help keep them warm. But no. I put some fingerless gloves on my Christmas wish list. Hopefully, Santa is listening. :)

Speaking of Santa, last night we took a trip to the mall North Pole and paid him a visit:

the Boy and Santa, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Greenpiece month 2, part 1

I've completed a few more blocks in my Moda Greenpiece BOM.

Here is pieced block number 3:

Moda Greenpiece pieced block 3
Simple and sweet.

This is applique block number 3:

Greenpiece applique block 3
The green stems are actually supposed to be applique, but I decided that I just didn't want to deal with 1/8" bias stems. So, I embroidered that as well as the little black stub at the top of the acorn. I thought it would be cool to try a feather stitch on the leaf, but it didn't work out for me (I probably just needed more practice and patience, but was lacking in both at the time). So, I unstitched and used a regular stem stitch for that part.

I have to say, this acorn block kind of weirds me out. Whenever I look at it, I see a little acorn beast with a crazy leaf-shaped tongue. But, it is done, and I'm definitely happy about that!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Jane Stickle Quilt: LS-5

Jane Stickle block LS-5Block number/name: LS-5 “Olympic Torch”

Date completed: December 7, 2009

Number of pieces: 25

Notes on block: This block took a long time for me; much of it was spent in preparation. I redrafted the top two sections from the design in the book/software to look more like the original (and to avoid extra appliqué). So the top section is pieced and then the small triangle was appliquéd on top. The section below was also pieced and then the half-moon was appliquéd on top. I also had a few problems with the skinny pieces and getting the points sharp. But, after a little bit of unsewing, I think they ended up working pretty well. Thank goodness, this block is DONE!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tickertape Animals!

I finally got Felix's quilt finished this last weekend. I call it "Tickertape Animals."

Tickertape Animals, looking pretty outside
This is a fun, simple tutorial from Piece N Quilt called "Tranquil Baby." The pattern actually calls for a charm pack, but I just cut my own charm squares from a selection of 9 fat quarters. The only other change I made was to use Monica's method for preparing applique circles. I'm really happy with how it all came together.

Tickertape Animals, full front view
What with the big expanses of solid fabric, choosing a quilt design was really challenging for me. A stipple just wasn't going to cut it on this one!

Tickertape Animals, quilting detail
Inspired by a quilt I recently saw at During Quiet Time, I decided to try some letters. I used soapstone and wrote out the names of the animals that appear in the various fabrics: lion, frog, elephant, mouse, bird, giraffe, and spider. This worked great for the most part, but there were a couple areas in the middle of the quilt where the soapstone rubbed off and I couldn't read what I had written anymore. So I guessed, and ended up with a double "lion." Ah, well.

Tickertape Animals, a peek at the back
I backed the quilt with a soft flannel star print. The quilting shows up really well on it. Which looks just a little strange, since it's all backwards.

Tickertape Animals, label
And, here's the label.

Another note: I used a soy/cotton blend batting for the first time in making this quilt. It was "Soy Soft" from Luna Quilt Bating by Moda. I was really happy with how it worked. No bearding, no lint problems with my machine (after prewashing the batting, there was practically no lint in the dryer, even!), and the quilt is soft and supple. I also love that it is organic and has anti-bacterial properties (which seems a nice thing in a baby quilt). Definitely a good experiment.

I'm really excited to give this quilt to little Felix tomorrow!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Jane Stickle Quilt: RS-10

Jane Stickle block RS-10Block number/name: RS-10 “Grandma Nan’s Bodice”

Date completed: December 6, 2009

Number of pieces: 17

Notes on block: I’ve determined that the secret to appliquéing triangles is to press/fingerpress the edges beforehand and then tuck the tails as I come to them, as opposed to needleturn. That extra step seems to result in much sharper points. I think I actually figured this out before, but then promptly forgot. Hopefully, writing it down will help me remember for the future. :)

This pretty Fossil Fern green was given to me by my friend Cindy. This block also features the appearance of a new white. I’ve been running low, so I went out and bought 3 new ones… hopefully, it’s not too late to be adding to the mix.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Jane Stickle Quilt: H-2

Jane Stickle block H-2Block number/name: H-2 “Jacob Anthony”

Date completed: December 5, 2009

Number of pieces: 24

Notes on block: I started this one last night and finished it up today. It was a breeze to put together, but the little appliqué triangles were the source of some consternation. In the end, I’m pretty happy with the finished block.

Today we went furniture shopping for my son’s Big Boy room. We were hoping to have it put together by the end of January, but it looks like the bed and dresser won’t be here until March. At least it will still be done before the baby arrives!

Friday, December 4, 2009

A little bit of progress

I haven't done a whole lot so far this week, but I did get Felix's quilt quilted and have attached the binding. Hopefully, I'll get it stitched down and finished up this weekend!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Planning can indeed be helpful

This was Gretchen's month in Snip.Sew.Send. She sent a beautiful array of fabrics and asked for 2", 3.5", 6.5", and 9.5" square-in-square blocks. Her plan is to create a quilt inspired by Kaffe Fassett's "Jewel Squares" design.

Here is what I came up with:

Gretchen's blocks
I really wish that I could have made more of the larger size blocks (9.5" and 6.5"), but because I didn't go into my block-making with a plan, I just didn't have enough fabric. I cut various widths of fabric and then kind of built my blocks randomly. I didn't waste fabric, but if I had planned better at all, I could have made at least a couple more 6.5" blocks and fewer small ones. On the bright side, this seems like a design where the small blocks will definitely be useful.

Judging from the blocks others have posted in the flickr group, it definitely looks like this is going to be a spectacular quilt!

December is a break month for this group, and then my turn comes up in January. At this point, I still have no idea what to do. Hopefully, I'll have a plan soon! Because, as these blocks have reminded me, having a plan can indeed be helpful.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holiday weekend

This last week has just flown by! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday-- a wonderful opportunity to spend time with friends and family and have LOTS of fantabulous feasting. We had 12 people at our tables last week, and both the food and the laughter were plentiful. I am so bummed that I failed to take any pictures! But, I was very busy in the kitchen and by the time all the food was out and ready, the only thing on my mind was getting off my feet and eating.

After all of the cooking, I took it easy over the weekend. There were lots of leftovers, and even a little crafting. One thing I'm really happy to have done is prep work for quilting Felix's baby quilt. I got it marked and basted. Yay! Now I just need to get it quilted (hopefully, soon!).

I also managed to finally get going on some sashing in my Jane Stickle quilt.

my first sashed Stickle blocks
It's not much, but it's a start. Six blocks connected now!

Also completed now is the center of the "My Friend, Maisy" quilt:

My Friend, Maisy center block
I'm loving this bright and happy quilt! And with the center completed, I can now put the top together. Hopefully I'll be able to work on that this weekend. My goal is to get this one finished for the Boy in time for Christmas.